New Medicines, New Hope for African Americans

WASHINGTON, March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A recent article in The Triangle Tribune pointed to good news for members of the black community, highlighting new medicines in development to fight diseases of particular concern to African Americans.

America's pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies are developing new medicines to help fight asthma, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and cancer.

African Americans have higher asthma rates than any other racial and ethnic group in the United States, and are three times more likely to die from asthma, according to the American Lung Association. One new medicine now being developed represents a new generation of inhaled corticosteroids. The medicine is intended to reduce inflammation in the lungs and airways.

Similarly, African Americans are nearly two times more likely to have diabetes than whites, according to the American Diabetes Association. A recent survey by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) reveals that one medicine now in development has been shown to improve both long-term glycemic control, and the imbalance between insulin and glucose that causes type 2 diabetes.

Black women are 10 percent less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer but are 35 percent more likely to die from the disease, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health. A new medicine in the pipeline for breast cancer targets the Bcl-2 protein. By reducing the amount of this protein in cancer cells, the medicine may enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

Black men are nearly 2.5 times as likely to die from prostate cancer as white men, according to the Office of Minority Health. Several vaccines are currently being studied as possible treatments for cancer. One potential vaccine has tripled the survival rate of men with advanced prostate cancer in clinical trials.

An inherited disorder, sickle cell anemia can clog the blood vessels, depriving the patient of oxygen and often causing severe pain, progressive organ failure and reduced life span. One medicine now in development is designed to address a problem with the lining of the blood vessels. Studies suggest that this dysfunction may play a role in sickle cell and the vascular problems associated with it.

These are just a sampling of the diseases that disproportionately affect African Americans that are currently being targeted for new drug development.

SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

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